23.08.2013, 11:41
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Strelka alumnus, experimental sound and performance artist Sergei Kasich speaks about installation “Voice of the Forest”.

Sounds of nature and social satire

Aristarh Chernyshov and Alexej Shulgin of Electroboutique invited me to work with them on Voice of the Forest, an installation recently presented at Archstoyanie 2013. Electroboutique are the pioneers of local media art. They were the first artists in Russia who started making works using cutting-edge technology, incorporating interactivity and social satire. A few years ago, they noticed the work of and subsequently got in touch with me to collaborate.

Voice of the Forest, as with all other works of Electroboutique, is satirical in nature. In general, it is a parody of how a person can impose aesthetic ideas about beauty on natural phenomena, and how ridiculous it may turn out in the end.

The installation was a khaki-coloured piano that was placed in the woods. It was left there and had a couple of melodies programmed that varied according to certain algorithms. On this piano, one could generate all sorts of sounds of animals, insects and so on. One could also play a melody or even use it to accompany oneself, but there were always interesting and sometimes, funny sounds generated. All the animal noises and sounds provided the comic element to the installation. Over the course of the festival, Pyotr Ido, a well-known pianist, played his improvisations on this instrument, while dressed as wood demon.

Art and Space

The concept of site-specific art is very appealing to me. During my entire, relatively speaking, career, I did more events than installations. Many of them were quite site-specific. At a certain moment we, as community, had to make site-specific events simply because we had no access to any traditional venues such as nightclubs. We had no access to any other concert venues because we did not fit the predominant format. So, we settled on museums, galleries and libraries, and constructed the content of performances based on the location. In the Bogolyubov library or the Mayakovsky museum, for example, we made events dedicated to futurists and also extra quiet concerts dedicated to silence.

The idea of working with space is closely tied to the idea of sound art, because it was originally a spatial installation work. Additionally, the natural environment provides much inspiration and context that contributes to the overall performance.